I arrived tonight in Istanbul having spent a few days in Maranello. With the team, we have worked hard to be as well prepared as possible for the upcoming weekend of World Championship action, an event that has a special significance for all of Ferrari. It’s here in Istanbul that the Scuderia celebrates its eight hundredth Grand Prix in Formula 1, which is an amazing achievement. My role in this exceptional story only started a few months ago and it is only six chapters long, but I can already understand how special it is to be part of the legend that is Ferrari.
Apart from the work with the team, I have also been on the simulator and, yesterday I was able to indulge in my two favourite sports; football and cycling. Yesterday afternoon, I watched a stage of the Giro d’Italia, along with Stefano Domenicali and it was a great experience. It was a time trial, from San Vigilio di Marebbe to Plan de Corones and I followed my friend Carlos Sestre every inch of the way on a support motor bike. I like cycling as part of my training programme but I also like to watch the big races. I had already been to the Tour de France and the Vuelta, but never the Giro: it was a great atmosphere with lots of support, especially for the Italian riders. I tried to give my support to Carlos and the other Spanish riders: one of them still wears the pink jersey and I was pleased to join him on the podium when he put it on again at the end of the stage.
In the evening, in Modena, I played football in the charity match between the Telethon and Nazionale Italiana Cantanti teams. Once again here there was a great crowd with the stadium filled almost to capacity: the Italians really know how to show their support and on this occasion they had good cause, namely to gather donations for medical research.
The race in Istanbul kicks off the second third of the championship and there is still everything to play for. Even if, so far, the Red Bulls have been the most competitive, the field is evenly matched, with at least five or six drivers in the hunt for the title. I hope this will be a “normal” race in that I should not find myself once again at the back of the pack after a few laps, which is what has happened for one reason or another in four of the first six races this year. We have the potential to be competitive and it would be fantastic to be able to celebrate the Scuderia’s eight hundredth Grand Prix with a great result!